The magic of the Christmas season is contagious in our house. Since we started having children, each year has gotten better and better, with our children becoming more aware of the meaning of the Holiday and each tradition becoming more memorable and important to the kids, as they recall what happened in previous years and how we need to celebrate the exact same way (they are getting to be sticklers with tradition!).
As we continue to figure out what matters most to our family, we are learning how to prioritize our time to make those things happen. This December, I intentionally made zero plans every weekend so we could take advantage of the town we live in and all of the festive events- Santa’s arrival, writing our letters, making gingerbread houses, watching the Polar express, and being able to schedule last minute Christmas outings, and it’s been glorious. Nevermind that the baby has been sick 90% of the time so we would’ve had to cancel most of our plans anyway, but it’s given us even more of an opportunity and the flexibility to spend time together as a party of five, making memories in our home.
As our oldest approaches six, I am realizing just how fleeting these memories are and how badly I want her to keep this innocence, and believe in the Christmas magic. I know our beliefs aren’t for everyone but I’d like for others to respect it. I am aware that other families may chose to, “…not lie to our kids” and they don’t believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter bunny, but we do LIE to our kids and I want to keep it up as long as possible. Everyone I know is raising their children differently, the way they dress, eat, speak, the homes we live in, how we spend our money, what we do with our time, and I am teaching our kids to understand and respect what other families do…our oldest has already started asking us a ton of questions about the behaviors of her friends and why they do things differently than us. When I can’t explain or offer a suggestion as to why they are different, I encourage her to ask them questions to better understand where they are coming from. We teach, we explain and we discuss how not everyone does everything the same way, and if you are ever curious about something someone is doing you ask them about it, giving your friend the opportunity to share and educate.
As parents, I feel like it’s important for us to keep our opinions and beliefs within our own families, but to educate our children about respecting others beliefs and behaviors. This stretches far and wide to encompass serious topics like religion and languages we speak and seemingly less debatable decisions as to why I don’t let my son climb to the top of the jungle gym or why we have an elf on the shelf. On the playground, I probably look crazy as I request my son get down and not go so high but the fact that he has epilepsy and I am juggling two other children at the playground means I can’t watch him as safely as I would like and I want to protect him. He also is only three, despite looking like a five year old, and I worry about his coordination on some of the equipment. If someone asked me about it, I’d explain just that, but if they just watched and observed, I am sure they would just judge. As for the Elf on the Shelf, I’d like our children to believe in his magic…at least a little while longer. I know that it’s not for everyone (hell, I hate moving the damn thing, my husband does it most of the time), but they adore him and it gives us a burst of energy every morning as we search for his new spot and any treasures he brings. And to all the kids that don’t have an Elf or don’t believe, please encourage your children to respect those that do, and that this behavior isn’t “babyish” or “childish” and it makes the season a big more magical for all of us…myself included!
We don’t need to agree, but we do need to respect each other. Be kind, friends and don’t forget to move the damn elf.